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Just Our Nature - news, updates and insights

What is Citizen Science?

By Jane Eifert on April 9, 2016
 After a long North Country winter few sights and sounds are more welcome than signs of spring – the year’s first blooming crocus, the call of a red-winged blackbird, a chorus of spring peepers. Many of us post Facebook photos of daffodils and rivers rushing with snowmelt as a celebration of the seasons changing. But what if our observations of the natural world could also be useful to science? …
Blog category: Just Our Nature

Maple Weekend 2016

By Imman Merdan on April 5, 2016
Maple season is not considered to be one of the four seasons, but for those in the North Country, it is the sweetest. New York State Maple Weekend, which this year took place on March 19-20 and April 2-3 this year, is a celebration of the maple season and an opportunity for the public to see how maple syrup, candies, and other sweet treats are made. On April 2nd we caught up with St. Lawrence…
Blog category: Farmed and Foraged

Warm Up the Organs to Make Music

By Paul J. Hetzler on April 4, 2016
Every spring, Mother Nature takes the choir out of the freezer. And sometimes, this year for example, she pops them back in for a while. The choir to which I refer is that all-male horde of early-spring frogs: spring peepers, wood frogs, and chorus frogs. Even while an ice rind still clings to the pond edges, untold numbers of these guys roust themselves from torpor to sing for female attention.…
Blog category: Just Our Nature

Lisbon Primitive Snowshoe Biathlon 2016

By Anna Hughes on April 4, 2016
On a clear late-winter day a man walks through a birch forest, his ash-framed snowshoes crunching over the crusty snow. Swinging by his side is his shooting pouch holding black powder, and in his left hand is a flintlock muzzleloader. He stops, takes out his black powder and loads the rifle while eyeing up the nearby targets.  As he aims there is a brief pause as if everything in the woods held…
Blog category: Just Our Nature

Forest Succession: A Living Symphony

By Paul J. Hetzler on March 24, 2016
Senescence is the decline in vigor that happens to all creatures great and diminutive as they close in on the life expectancy of their species. People my age suddenly find they require reading glasses to see the phone book. Though I suppose by definition anyone still using a phone book is old enough to need glasses, right? The onset of this process varies—you probably know of families whose…
Blog category: Just Our Nature

The Shades of March: A Photo Blog

By Lizz Muller on March 15, 2016
Transitions between seasons often seem drab and monotonous. The glistening snow and ice sculptures of winter are left behind, and summer's vibrant palette has not yet arrived. But beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, and March has more to give then it might seem. Patches of green can be spotted nestled in the thawing ground, and melting ice leaves reflective mirrors in its place. Spring is a…
Blog category: Just Our Nature

Snowbirding in St. Lawrence County: the Balmy Winter of 2016

By Alexander K. Stewart on March 10, 2016
  Have you ever wondered what it would be like to retire and become a snowbird—move south for the winter, maybe Florida or South Carolina, dodge the winter bullet? Heck, some of you might be reading this from those warmer climes, wondering about the winter you missed out on.  In short, we’re coming out of the 2nd warmest winter on record.  Well, for those of you wondering about snowbirding your…
Blog category: Just Our Nature

Maple Syrup: A Timely Tradition

By Justin Dalaba on March 7, 2016
  Maple syrup and maple sugar production have deep roots in the North Country, and for some it has been a way to make a living for generations. Imagine for a moment how the maple syrup on your pancakes made it to the table. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to see what goes into the process, you’ll surely understand why the real syrup costs a bit more than the artificial stuff. As any…
Blog category: Farmed and Foraged

The Wonders of Wool

By Lizz Muller on March 1, 2016
  Driving through St. Lawrence County, no matter what time of year, it's not uncommon to see herds of livestock along the roadsides. The strong speckled bodies of cows stand together in groups, their hooves barely denting the frozen ground beneath them. Sheep gather around mounds of hay, some of them practically camouflaged under the piles of snow that accumulate on their backs. Most North…
Blog category: Just Our Nature

The Unthinkable, The Possible, and The Inevitable: Invasive Species Awareness Week

By Paul J. Hetzler on February 22, 2016
February 21-27 is National Invasive Species Awareness Week, not to be confused with New York State’s Invasive Species Awareness Week, which happens in July. I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer a Blissful Ignorance Week when it comes to creepy insect pests. But since I can only keep my head in the sand so long before my ears get itchy, what the heck—bring on this “Awareness” stuff. Naturally,…
Blog category: Just Our Nature